Shreves v. Harris et al
ORDER ADOPTING 72 FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS in full. 66 Motion to amend answer denied; 68 Motion for preliminary injunction denied. Signed by Judge Dana L. Christensen on 10/15/2020. Transmitted electronically to prison for delivery to Plaintiff. (TAG)
Case 6:18-cv-00097-DLC-JTJ Document 89 Filed 10/15/20 Page 1 of 6
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MONTANA
RICHARD E. SHREVES,
DAVID WILLIAM HARRIS, et al.,
On August 25, 2020, United States Magistrate Judge John Johnston entered
an Order and Findings and Recommendations recommending that the Court deny
Defendants’ motion to amend their answer and Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary
injunction. (Doc. 72 at 7.) Judge Johnston granted in part and denied in part
Plaintiff’s motion to amend the scheduling order, denied Defendants’ motion for
leave to file serial summary judgment briefs or excess pages, granted Plaintiff’s
motion for subpoena, and denied Plaintiff’s motion to deem paragraphs of the
complaint admitted. (Id. at 6–7.)
Plaintiff Richard E. Shreves timely objects to each recommendation and
ruling adverse to him. (Doc. 75.) A party is entitled to de novo review of the
findings and recommendations to which he specifically objects. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(C). This Court reviews for clear error those findings to which no party
objects. United States v. Reyna-Tapia, 328 F.3d 1114, 1121 (9th Cir. 2003);
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Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149 (1985). Clear error applies to the Magistrate
Judge’s rulings. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A). Clear error occurs when the Court is
left with a “definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.”
United States v. Syrax, 235 F.3d 422, 427 (9th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted).
Objection #1: Recommendation to Deny Preliminary Injunction
In his motion for an injunction, Shreves seeks a court order to enjoin
Defendant Zuber from “having anything to do with Shreve’s legal work, library
materials, or any other aspect of interactions with him until this action is fully and
finally litigated.” (Doc. 69 at 5.) Judge Johnston determined that Shreves had not
met the high standard necessary for the Court to issue a preliminary injunction.
(Doc. 72 at 5 (stating “[t]he United States Constitution prohibits Defendants from
retaliating against Plaintiff. The Court need not add to the highest law in the land
and should not interfere in or police prison officials’ ongoing, challenging tasks at
Montana State Prison.”).
Reviewing de novo, the Court agrees that Shreves’ complaints about
Defendant Zuber do not rise to the level necessary for the Court to enter an
injunction. To obtain preliminary injunctive relief, a plaintiff must establish that:
(1) they are likely to succeed on the merits; (2) they are likely to suffer irreparable
harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (3) the balance of equities tips in their
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favor; and (4) an injunction is in the public interest. Winter v. Nat. Res. Def.
Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 20 (2008).
Shreves alleges that an injunction is necessary because Zuber, who is
affiliated with the prison library: (1) waited ten months to initiate disciplinary
action against him when he had done nothing wrong in speaking with a clerk of
this Court about a concern related to filing his papers; and (2) expelled him from
the prison library early on two occasions in punishment for grievances filed against
her. (Docs. 75 at 2–4; 69 at 1–2.) He asserts that an order requiring her to stay
away from this case is particularly necessary given the Court’s denial of his request
to file via U.S. mail as this puts her in continued contact with his legal filings. (Id.)
Despite the seriousness of Shreves’ allegations that Zuber’s retaliation
against him continues to this day, the Court cannot grant a preliminary injunction
where Shreves has not alleged that Zuber’s actions had any chilling effect on his
First Amendment rights. The standard for an injunction requires the Court to
determine that absent an injunction, the moving party will suffer irreparable harm.
Id. Although Shreves indicates that Zuber’s actions have cause him anxiety (Doc.
69 at 4), he has not demonstrated that an injunction is necessary for his continued
participation in this litigation or any other exercise of his First Amendment rights.
To the contrary, Shreves has demonstrated himself to be a tenacious and tireless
litigant. Having found no imminent harm, the Court need not address the
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remaining factors. See Garcia v. Google, Inc., 786 F.3d 733, 746 (9th Cir. 2015)
Although Shreves has not satisfied the standard for obtaining injunctive
relief, the Court will reiterate Judge Johnston’s advisement to him: the incidents
Shreves complains about are not irrelevant. “Provided he gives defense counsel
prompt notice of the incidents,” his allegations against Zuber may be used at trial
to support his retaliation claims. (See Doc. 72 at 5–6.)
Objection #2: Leave to Amend
Judge Johnston denied Shreves’ request for leave to amend upon
determining that Shreves did not provide any explanation for why he needed
additional times to add claims or defendants. (Doc. 72 at 2.) Shreves now
explains that he has a new claim and party that relate to his retaliation and
supervisory liability theories but that he could not amend his complaint until he
exhausted his administrative remedies. (Doc. 75 at 7–9.) Unfortunately, the time
to provide this explanation was in his June 30, 2020 filing. (Doc. 53.) The close
of discovery is quickly approaching (see Doc. 48) and the Court must exercise its
discretion to deny Shreves’ request in furtherance of managing its docket. United
States v. W.R. Grace, 526 F.3d 499, 509 (9th Cir. 2008). No extension of the
deadline to amend the pleadings will be granted.
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Objection #3: Depositions
Judge Johnston denied Shreve’s request for guidance in taking depositions.
(Doc. 72 at 2.) Shreves does not object to this conclusion per se, but simply
reiterates that any help the Court can provide would be appreciated. (Doc. 75 at 9.)
Unfortunately, the Court cannot aid parties in litigating their case.
Objection #4: Motion for Defendants to Admit Paragraphs
Judge Johnston denied Shreves’ request to deem several paragraphs of the
Complaint admitted. (Doc. 72 at 3.) He also denied Defendants request for an
extension to allow them to correct some of their answers. (Id.) Defendants do not
object and so the Court will review this decision for clear error as well. In denying
both requests, Judge Johnston concluded that the pleadings had sufficiently
identified the areas in dispute and it was time for the case to move forward. (Id.)
The Court agrees. This decision was not clear error.
IT IS ORDERED that Judge Johnston’s Findings and Recommendations
(Doc. 72) is ADOPTED in full.
1. The Court DENIES Defendants’ motion to amend their answer (Doc.
2. The Court DENIES Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction (Doc.
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DATED this 15th day of October, 2020.
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